Let me tell you one of the many inimitable stories of Mulla Nasruddin..
A man had fallen between the rails in an underground station and people were crowding around, all trying to get him to safety before the train came and crushed him.
They were shouting “Give me your hand! Give me your hand!” But the man would not reach up.
It so happened that Mulla Nasruddin was around there as well, watching from among the crowd. Seeing this, he elbowed his way to through the crowd and leant over to the man.
“Friend,” he said, “what is your profession?”.
“I am an Income tax inspector” gasped the man.
“In that case,” said Nasruddin, “Take my hand!”. The man immediately grasped Mulla’s hand and was hauled out to safety.
Mulla Nasruddin, then turned to the open-mouthed audience and said – “Never as a tax man to give you anything, you fools.” and walked away!!
There is a very important lesson for all of us here.
The moment we are presented with a problem that needs to be solved, more often than not, our first reaction is to start coming up with ideas to solve the problem, without even stepping back to understand the problem.
The first step in solving any problem is to first understand the problem in more detail – understand the context of the problem, understand who is getting affected and how, why is the problem a problem in the first place and many more probing questions to understand the problem that you are trying to solve.
Good and permanent solutions to problems usually follow a few good probing questions.
So, next time you are about to solve a problem, stop and ask a few probing questions to understand the problem before moving on to ideas..